The Chesterfield County Planning Commission has a relatively short time to complete their assigned task of reworking the countywide comprehensive plan. Their work on the new plan began last week, and they have until August 21, 2012 to hand it back to the Board of Supervisors. According to planning documents published on the county’s website, “there will be opportunities for public review and comment during the drafting of the new plan.”
But the planning commissioner from the Clover Hill district, Russell Gulley, said, “Keep in mind that we can change anything with a vote from this commission.”
The comprehensive plan is a document that sets the direction of countywide planning over the next 20 years, said Kirk Turner, director of planning for Chesterfield.
During a February 8, 2012 meeting, the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted to send the draft countywide comprehensive plan back to the planning commission and instructing them carry out specific changes to the countywide plan.
The group of five had decided not to approve the consultant/steering committee version or the edited planning commission version of the plan that totaled over 200 pages at its completion.
The commission’s mission is to remedy problems with the document that took about 36 months and over a $1 million to produce.
The new version of the comprehensive plan will have elements of the 21 current community plans. It will also have pieces of the draft comprehensive plan, according to Steve Haasch, acting planning manager, who is heading up the project for the planning staff. Haasch also said and accentuated the importance of the work the planning commission is doing on the new version; working from the baseline of a list of items insisted on by the Board of Supervisors at the February 8 meeting.
Those items were requested by Dale District Supervisor Jim Holland and Board Chairman Dan Gecker.
Mr. Holland said that he would like to send the draft comprehensive plan back to the Planning Commission for the purpose of continuing the process began in 2009.
“This is not, however, a motion requiring the Planning Commission to retain this draft plan or any portion of the plan, Holland said. “In fact, as part of my motion, I want to direct the Planning Commission to seriously consider our existing comprehensive plan as a foundation for a new draft plan.
“Also, as part of my motion, the Planning Commission is directed to consider the issues as outlined on a list provided to all Board members by staff when the Commission develops the new plan” (please see guidance list.)
County staff responsible for future planning is providing information and technical support that the planning commission will need to complete its assignment on time.
Staff has presented information on chapters that could be contained in the revised plan. One important change will be that the plan will cover only 20 years with updates every five years. The draft plan, voted down, stretched to build out, which is when the county is completely filled and every parcel used.
“Planning staff will provide the help and provide the structure that will help the commission move through the information to finish on the schedule provided by the BOS,” Haasch said. “A committee has been formed to help structure the information presented to the planning commission. That committee consists of planning staff and other department members from different disciplines. The members are Beverly Rogers, Steven Haasch, Heather Barrar, Jim Banks, Bill Wright, George Bowles, Jane Peterson, Karen Aylward, Garrett Hart and others as needed. This group provides background on:
- Introduction and countywide goals.
- Overall background information.
- Land use.
- Special area geography.
- Tranportation plans.
- Water & wastewater.
- Economic development.
- Environment quality.
- Public facilities.
At the work session last week the planning commission spent about two-and-a-half hours listening and responding to topics presented by the planning-the-future committee.
To participate in the revised plan, go to firstname.lastname@example.org  and enter your e-mail address so that you may receive notifications for plan updates and notifications.
BOS GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION
- A plan document with clarity, simplicity, and brevity;
- Acknowledge the strong foundation of the county’s area plans and build off of that foundation;
- Land use recommendations should recognize the county’s existing suburban land use pattern, emphasize the importance of Chesterfield’s villages, identify higher density nodes on Route 288, identify fewer mixed use centers and limited mixed use along corridors;
- A coordinated water demand and supply management strategy;
- Include the East/West Freeway for long-range planning purposes;
- A separate revitalization chapter focusing on parity of public facilities and services, especially schools, with promoting of higher density not a goal of revitalization efforts and the need to revitalize commercial corridors;
- Accommodate transit nodes;
- The importance of our rural areas with the understanding that rural areas should have some development as a matter of right, and if maintained as rural, bring forward an acquisition of development rights program;
- Parity among public facilities, especially in schools, identifying specific schools to completely rehabilitate, as well as promoting neighborhood schools concepts (smaller), and using the public facilities plan as a model for the Capital Improvement Program;
- Recognize and support the expansion of Virginia State University;
- Acknowledge the importance of Chesterfield’s riverfronts through focused planning efforts.
ROAD TO THE NEW COMP PLAN
CPC Work Session 4/17
- Introduction & Countywide Goals
- Background Information
- Land Use
- Special Areas
CPC Work Session 5/3
- Environmental Quality
CPC Work Session 5/15
- Economic Development
CPC Work Session 6/7
- Water & Wastewater
CPC Work Session 6/19
- Public Facilities
- Final planning document to county attorney for legal review
Work session 7/17 (material delivered by July 10)
- Final plan document
To be determined
- Planning Commission public hearing